Baltimore, Md (UHND.com) – During the era affectionately referred to as the Davieham Era, close calls against Navy threatened to end Notre Dame’s impressive winning streak over the Midshipmen four separate times. With two games against Navy, Charlie Weis’s teams have beat the Midshipmen twice by a combined score of 80-35 after a 38-14 victory Saturday in Baltimore in a game in which the Irish scored on its five possessions and never had to punt.
The Irish were about as efficient on offense as you can be while piling up 471 yards of offense behind the arm of Brady Quinn. Quinn completed 18 of 25 passes for 295 yards and tossed three touchdowns whiling running in a 4th himself.
From the first drive of the game, Notre Dame moved the ball at will for the most part, despite having to settle on a 40 yard Carl Goia field goal on the game’s opening possession. That field goal would be the only time the Irish had to settle for three instead of six on offense the entire first half.
Quinn threw two of his three touchdowns in the first half with a 35 yarder to David Grimes and a 33 yarder to Rhema McKnight with just over a minute remaining in the half. The touchdown grab by Grimes was the first of his career, while McKnight’s was his eight of the season. Grimes also became the sixth different receiver to catch a pass from Brady Quinn this year with his first quarter score.
While the offense got off to a strong start, the Notre Dame defense had trouble slowing the Navy offensive attack in the first. Despite only allowing 14 points in the content, all 14 came in the first half when Navy gashed the Irish defense for 211 yards on the ground alone.
The Notre Dame defense would stiffen in the second half, however, and held Navy to just 60 yards on the ground the second half while being on their way to a shut out over the final 30 minutes.
Quinn would add his second rushing touchdown of the season in the 3rd quarter when he took it into the end zone from 19 yards out – his longest run since 2004. He would later add his 21st touchdown pass of the season with a six yard strike to McKnight – his ninth on the year.
Notre Dame’s Heisman candidate quarterback wasn’t the only Domer to reach the end zone on the ground. Linebacker Travis Thomas saw one carry against Navy and with that one carry he converted a 3rd and 1 in dramatic fashion with a 16 yard score in the second quarter.
While Thomas saw just one carry, junior Darius Walker carried 20 times for 103 yards, his third 100 yard game of the season. Walker had a few nice runs, including an 18 yarder to open the game, but Navy did a pretty good job bottling up Walker throughout the game. Notre Dame ended the game with 176 yards rushing with freshman James Aldridge adding 29 yards on 12 carries in mop up duty.
The win was pretty much what most Notre Dame fans were expecting from the Irish – a strong win, but nothing over the top in terms of margin of victory. Charlie Weis isn’t a big proponent of running up the score against anyone, let along Navy – a team he has shown a great deal of respect for since arriving in South Bend.
The offensive output was also a good sign for an offense that has struggled at times this year – most notably last week when they scored just 13 points against UCLA prior to Jeff Samardzija’s last second, game winning touchdown grab.
The win also pushed the Irish to 7-1 and increased their winning streak over Navy to 43. Next up for the Irish will be a visit from North Carolina this coming weekend.